All community pharmacists in England are being given access to the summary care record (SCR) from autumn 2015, health minister Alistair Burt announced on 23 June 2015. The SCR contains clinical information about a patient, obtained from the record maintained by the patient’s GP.
The decision follows the success of a pilot project involving 140 pharmacies in England given access to the SCR.
An analysis of the pilot’s findings suggests that by accessing information contained within the summary care record, pharmacists were able to avoid having to refer the patient to another health service in 92% of cases. Of these encounters, 56% would have been signposted to the GP, 22% to an out-of-hours GP service or NHS 111 and 1% to accident & emergency. In 18% of cases, having access to the SCR meant a prescribing error was avoided, says a report of the findings.
The announcement from Burt, who describes the profession as an “untapped resource in the health service”, follows a promise of £7.5m to help fund training and resources for pharmacists to help GPs in England deliver a seven-day-a-week service.